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Q&A: Artist Roksana Pirouzmand hopes visitors connect with her art at Hammer Museum

A roster lists the participating artists for the Hammer Museum’s “Made in L.A. 2023: Acts of Living” exhibit. The sixth iteration of this biennial series includes works from Roksana Pirouzmand, who graduated from UCLA’s graduate arts program in 2022. (Shane Yu/Daily Bruin staff)

“Made in L.A. 2023: Acts of Living”

Hammer Museum

Oct. 1 to Dec. 31

By Maya Vibhakar

Oct. 21, 2023 4:38 p.m.

This post was updated Oct. 26 at 7:51 p.m.

Roksana Pirouzmand is embracing introspection with her latest art installations.

The multidisciplinary artist has two pieces featured in the Hammer Museum’s “Made in L.A. 2023: Acts of Living” exhibit. The Hammer’s sixth installment of the “Made in L.A.” series runs until Dec. 31 and features works from nearly 40 local artists. Originally from Iran, Pirouzmand graduated from UCLA in 2022 with a Master of Fine Arts in art with a concentration in ceramics and is currently working in Los Angeles.

Pirouzmand spoke with the Daily Bruin’s Maya Vibhakar about the meaning behind her featured works and the process of creating her pieces.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

[Related: Exhibit “We Will Dance in the Garden Again” reflects hope, familial roots]

Daily Bruin: Can you describe the pieces you have on display in this exhibit?

Roksana Pirouzmand: There are two works. (For the) one that is in the courtyard, it comes out of this painting that I was doing. There is this gesture that I’ve been painting over and over, and I see them as this surrender gesture but at the same time bodies that are having a cause and effect on each other. This sculpture became like a continuation of those paintings. I think it’s more than just a praying gesture, and it can have other meanings with those bodies piled up on top of each other, almost having the same gesture, same flow. I wanted to create that image.

DB: What was your inspiration behind these works?

RP: So this (the first) one is called “Until All is Dissolved,” (which is) the sculpture that is in the courtyard, and the other one that is in the gallery is “Between Two Windows.” (For) “Until All Is Dissolved,” I was thinking the clay gives the feeling that it’s going to erode over time like a river going in a riverbed. Over time it would change the shape of the stones. I was thinking the water that flows through this body can change the shape of these bodies over time, and it’s a symbol of resilience to me.

(With) “Between Two Windows,” at some points I’m performing. But also, the work is activated at the times that I’m not there. I wanted to create this windstorm between the two windows. Each of the windows is facing one of the gallery spaces so you can see from one gallery through the other. I’m performing in between these two, and there are family photos and letters that are floating around in this gap between the two windows, creating this turbulent atmosphere in between. It becomes more of a psychological space of being far, so for me it was Iran and America being seen through the two windows.

[Related: Getty Center unveils new exhibition, ‘William Blake: Visionary’]

DB: You utilize a variety of different mediums – clay, wood, fabric. How do these different mediums help convey your message?

RP: I try to learn the material. Like ceramic, for example – you learn it and slowly you would know its qualities: what it can do and what it can’t. Over time, you would accumulate this knowledge of materials and then you can use it either by itself or a combination of different mediums. You know its potentials, and then I’ll use them in my favor, whether the material has metaphoric or symbolic qualities to it. Formally, I can turn it into a thing, and its function can help me with the message that I want to get across.

DB: What do you hope visitors take away after looking at your work at the Hammer?

RP: I am hoping they can make connections with it. I don’t know if I can have a very narrow expectation, like, “This is what I want and I hope they are taking this from it.” But I’m hoping there will be a connection because I feel like everyone would have this (feeling of) being between two things or two places.

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